strip rails?

on my last timber board i used cork and ply solid rails. can anybody tell me how they do strip rails? i think they also call it chimed rails too ??? any photos would be greatly appreciated. this method has to be a lot lighter than solid ones…id like to give it a go.

Tom Wegener does strips on hs rails.

Yep done this on my hollow. Go to Pauls site. look at Board #6.

chimed rails are, to my knowledge, kind of like the tucked under rail band that didn’t get blended.

I’m sure there’s dozens of variations, but that’s the picture i get in my head when you say “chimed rails”

***edit…i’m thinking of chiNed.right?

i was thinking more along the lines of this shot from the grain surf web site.

the strips seem to go all around the ribs. not layered up in cork and ply like paul jensens…

Hi Shifty.

I’m halfway through doing this myself. I tacked some progress photos onto PierreB’s thread on his first hollow wood. He has done some beautiful strip balsa rails. I’m not sure how to add a link to his thread.

I’m just using 7mm x 7mm strips which will thin down to about 4-5mm in some areas by the time I fully shape the rails. I am just gluing them on, removing the excess as/if I need to, before I glue the next strip on.



Hi Shifty,

I’m about to start my hws this weekend and have been researching as much info as I can find on the rails. Here’s a link to Rich’s explanation. I’m going with 1/4" x 3/8" bead and cove balsa strips.

As I understand it, bead and cove is a strip with a convex curve on one side and a concave curve on the exact opposite side of strip. The pieces fit together similar to a slot & groove when stacked on each other and allow you to bend to the curvature of the rail.

Hope this helps.

I won’t be able to attend the Dr Les compsand class after all but I remember in Big Sur he was talking about how stoked he was when he came across some 3/8" X 3/8" full length wood strips for rail build up. After struggling with plank rail build up on my first compsand, THAT was what I wanted to see him demonstrate more than anything else. I think his method is similar to Rich’s without the cove and bead edge treatment.

When laminating planks, you have the issue of having to butt the planks every 36" or however long the planks are. Since they don’t bend vertically, you also end up wasting quite a bit of material. With full length strips that bend around the perimeter and conform to rocker profile, you’ve killed two birds with one stone.

two bs one stone


too early for me to post photos, but I think i can get away with that without the cove and bead. if i can you can too.

prelim bends lookin good,

width and thickness relative to board rocker curve quite exciting,

happy holidays

Hi John, got your message today. Sorry you won’t be here but for the GREAT job you did in getting the Swayloholics together I’ll be sending you one of the DVD’s of the class.

The way I put my perimeter/rail stringers together is…

  1. After VacBag’n the top and bottom on I measure off 3/8’s to 1/2" in from the rail, all the way around.

  2. I now cut that area off so that I now have a flat area where the foam/balsa was.

  3. I take a 2’ 2x4 with 80 grit sanding paper glued onto it and rub onto the rails to make it even flatter and to make

sure that the rails are equal and semetrical.

  1. I cut denser wood (I’ve been using cherry lately) 1/4" x 1/4" or 3/8" x 3/8" and 6-8" longer than my board.

  2. The board is set in my racks on it’s side with the rail that I’ll be working on (is up).

  3. I lay as many pieces of denser wood side by side on the rail, trim close to fit.

  4. GG the rail (foam) and one (side) edge of each wood piece.

  5. place each wood piece back on the rail (after sprinkling with water) and tape down.

  6. after dry I smooth the outside edge and if neccessary add more wood, usually balsa.

  7. Finish shape the rail with hand plane, belt sander paper and or wood rasp.

I’ve found that the wood conforms nicely with the double curve of the rails and gives light weight strength yet allows the flexability that I’ve grown to appreciate.

It’ll all be in my class tomorrow and on the DVD of the class. I’ll advertize here on Sway’s soon.


Here’s basically what it looks like:

And here’s how to do it:


Thanks Rich and Les for the explanations!

Although there are some differences, the concept of “stacking” skinny strips allows for a rail build up while bending the strips to fit the rocker profile.

I ended up with a lot of useless scrap after trimming my planks to fit my rocker profile.

I also attached an inner perimeter rail layer before attaching my deck and bottom skins. Once the skins were attached and planed flush, I built up from there.

Obviously there are several ways to skin the cat but the basic concept of the built up rail strips definitely applies to both hollow and compsand methods.

cheers rich. thats exactly the info i was after. are bead and cove strips something you buy or do you just make your own with a roughter?

cheers for everybody else who gave info too…

Hi Shifty,

I imagine it’s cheaper to make your own bead and cove strips.

You can purchase the balsa here:

And the router bit #5416 here:

Just use a router table to do the work. There’s also a description of how to make your own table somewhere on Rich’s site. I’ll see if I can find it for you.